Former Bemidji Assistant Principal Arrested on Child Porn Charges


BEMIDJI, Minn. – A former assistant principal at Bemidji Middle School was charged by the U.S. District Court with production and distribution of child pornography and attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.

The United States Attorney’s Office-District of Minnesota announced the charges against Brandon Mark Bjerknes in a release Wednesday.

Bemidji Area Schools employed Bjerknes from 2006 until his resignation in April, including the last three years where he worked as the assistant principal at Bemidji Middle School.

While holding the position of assistant principal, Bjerknes used social media accounts including Facebook and Snapchat to pose as a 13-15-year-old boy named “Brett Larson.” He used various “decoy photographs” on these accounts and allegedly used them to contact boys and girls in middle and high school.

He then allegedly directed the victims to send him sexually explicit photographs, and engaged in sexually explicit conversations with them over the fabricated social media accounts.

Law enforcement officials executed a search warrant against Bjerknes’ Bemidji residence in March. They seized a number of electronic devices including Bjerknes’ work and personal phones, multiple iPads, computers, and external hard drives. The release alleges the devices and social media accounts on them contained multiple sexually explicit photos and videos of known minor victims. The U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Release alleges that some of the minor victims were students at Bemidji Middle School.

Bjerknes was placed on administrative leave when the school district learned of the investigation against him, and he later resigned in April.

Law enforcement has thus far identified evidence that Bjerknes used the fabricated social media accounts to contact more than 50 minor victims. The forensic review is ongoing, and law enforcement believes that there may be additional victims of the alleged conduct. Anyone with information about this matter is encouraged to call the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office at 218-333-9111. Callers may remain anonymous.

Bjerknes is charged with two counts of production of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography, and one count of attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.